Hillary Clinton: Businesses Don’t Create Jobs (Just Speaking Fees)

This article was originally published at Forbes on October 26, 2014

Hillary Clinton’s October 24 speech supporting Martha Coakley, the Massachusetts Democratic gubernatorial candidate, covered standard progressive themes urging a larger state, as well as this attention-grabbing remark:

Don’t let anybody, don’t let anybody tell you that, ah, you know, it’s corporations and businesses that create jobs. You know that old theory, trickle-down economics. That has been tried, that has failed. It has failed rather spectacularly.

The New York Times didn’t see anything alarming in the statement, calling it a “variation on a popular [Elizabeth] Warren theme.”

But this attitude shocked many people in the trenches, those pulling the economic wagon, those looking for work. The condescension in the way Clinton articulated it was noteworthy also, and the blogosphere lit up brightly.

Most people who hold jobs or are looking for work do so at, you know, businesses, which, as it happens, are often incorporated. People were not amused.

Naturally it’s being said that Clinton’s statement was taken out of context, that she was talking about corporate tax breaks or something. Perhaps she was referring to her speaking bureau or to Chelsea’s former employer NBC News? Perhaps those corporations and businesses aren’t creating jobs, and that’s her reference point.

Policies that flow from disdain for private enterprise will likely advance a “trickle down” federal government, and, unfortunately, trickle up poverty, if that term is going to be dredged up again.

A Google search of “‘Hillary Clinton’ business jobs” is kind of funny, in that most of the initial hits were from right of center venues. This reflects the New York Times-style attitude that there was nothing to see here, the other worldly viewpoint that sees business and enterprise as an aberration, a wart, and that the normal and preferred is–what? The eeriness echoes President Obama’s “You didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen,” which enjoyed renewed attention this week in the wake of Clinton’s remark.

The only way that the un-self conscious utterance of a statement like Clinton’s makes much sense to an outside observer who has to earn a living is to use Occam’s Razor. It’s easiest to acknowledge that a sizable chunk of the left wing does not care much for free private enterprise and actually does prefer that the state be in charge of lives. They really mean what they say.

They demonstrate it–even when we are reluctant to admit the broad implications–by developing proposals to take over major economic sectors, such as Hillary Care, and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

When it comes to creating jobs, regulation may have lapped spending as the most important drag and weight on the economy, and policymakers of both parties seem not to care.

Reports have documented the regulatory pressure on full-time employment, such as the phenomenon of new jobs created in the wake of Obamacare offering less than 40 hours per week. Such destabilization paves the way for single-payer health care, the goal of part of the left.

With “pen and phone” and shovel-ready stimulus, government-driven infrastructure and science, compulsory green energy, a “kill-switch” for the Internet and net neutrality besides, our leaders really do believe in government management of the economy, even though governments can’t even efficiently produce paper clips.

Recognizing that certain deeply committed progressives do not support large-scale private free enterprise and do want the government to manage, control and oversee sector after sector of the economy, is the real context for appreciating a statement like “Don’t let anybody tell you that it’s corporations and businesses that create jobs.”

There’s no need for spin that revolves much further than that, although there’ll be plenty this week, and again in the next presidential campaign cycle when the Clinton video gets new airplay.

Interestingly, if Clinton were to be making this statement in the world she ostensibly desires, perhaps it indeed would not be businesses and corporations who provide jobs; we’d all be in thrall to the state.

Maybe that was a time traveler from the future on stage Friday, describing personal experience. If the speech were longer, she probably would have allowed that she had sworn off corporate boards and speaking fees and Gulfstreams permanently.